Watches hit a nerve

Nirupesh Joshi and Mercy Amalraj the founders of a luxury fine watch brand share their inspiring tale.

Ever wondered if it’s a good idea to have your spouse as your business partner? If you just smirked then you ought to be inspired by this young couple who quit their tech jobs in Hong Kong to turn their passion into a career. “Finding a co-founder or a business partner is one of the biggest tasks in setting up a business, since my wife in my partner in business I feel we’ve won half the battle,” says Nirupesh Joshi.

Millennials nowadays tend to take that leap from quitting their jobs to start a business of their own with inadequate experience. While the tag of a CEO sounds fancy this doesn’t help them establish a firm brand. Speaking about when is the right time to be your own boss Nirupesh says, “Firstly we didn’t go to big Universities but were raised in a brilliant ecosystem. It is essential to work for at least a 10 years to gain some knowledge from the market. You learn your strengths and weaknesses. Notions like ‘Bill Gates dropped out and yet became a billionaire’ and taking Mark Zuckerberg as an example isn’t really rational. Having experience in a certain domain has an immense role to play when you’re taking the leap.”

After a decade long experience at a renowned cloud service provider Nirupesh Joshi decided to take a sabbatical from this globetrotting profession. Along with his wife Mercy Amalraj the couple travelled to various countries including Japan, they ventured in the Trans-Siberian Railway Network and Vietnam in 2016 on rail.

Speaking about why they quit their jobs, Nirupesh says, “Moving from different places like the USA, Seol, Tokyo and Hong Kong got us home sick, we wanted to come back to India and Bengaluru was our pick. Mercy and I have lived in Bengaluru for over 15 years prior to our travel. We understood that Indian home grown products saw a remarkable welcome in the market, from coffee to leather and fabric every industry has its own renowned brand. But, we noticed there was no such brand for watches.”

Nirupesh elaborates, “We did not know much about watches but Hong Kong is a paradise for every watch lover, you’ll find a fine watch boutique in every nook and corner. We drew inspiration from these boutiques, I’m referring to brands like Patek Philippe or Lange & Sohne lounge and so on. Our friends also played a vital role in this, they loved watches and would buy these fine pieces, and we’d join them to understand the world of fine watches. So I can say watches just hit a nerve.”

Rejuvenated and motivated from the insightful sabbatical, this kickass duo moved to Bengaluru and invested a significant amount from their life savings into building this luxury fine watch brand - Bangalore Watch Company which according to Nirupesh is the first ever Indian watch micro-brand.

When asked if BWC was an impulsive decision Mercy says, “On an impulsiveness scale of 1-10, we’d be minus two! We’re both not at all impulsive, our friends know us both as being very calculative and thorough in everything we do. This played a big role in the business, everything from our decision to leave behind our jobs and start the business to our product strategy, positioning, everything is thoroughly thought out.”

Mecry doesn’t associate herself to the feminist school of thought. She says, “Feminism and Woman Entrepreneurship in the mainstream media are romanticized more than they need to be. I come from a family of teachers and government employees, my extended family has working mothers all around. Nirupesh’s parents were both working, and this was in the 80s when we grew up. I believe that woman are excellent multi-taskers, they’ve managed work and home well for several decades now, and this isn’t something new. I’d rather we appreciate ourselves for what we are, and not try to do everything men do.”

From college sweethearts to a travel loving couple and now business partners Nirupesh and Mercy have turned road-blocks to opportunities at every step. Sharing with us a bit of the challenges they faced in setting up this one of a kind fine watch brand Nirupesh says, “There are basically two kinds of youngsters one that don’t wear watches and the other have the habit of wearing one. Youngsters with the flair for a watch, starts with basic ones and eventually as their economic status improves they tend to invest in a Swiss watch and this is where we’d like to be considered as an option. The next challenge for us is to get people to understand fine watches and why it is exquisite.”

When asked what’s next for this inspiring couple, Mercy says, “BWC’s current focus is to expand our product catalogue and give our patrons more reasons to celebrate high quality watchmaking from India. Personally, Nirupesh and I have couple goals like everybody else - we just don’t get to travel as much as we used to before - Besides, there’s a constant search for the next challenge that’ll put us outside our comfort zone just like BWC!”

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